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potential, electric

potential, electric, work per unit of electric charge expended in moving a charged body from a reference point to any given point in an electric field (see electrostatics). The potential at the reference point is considered to be zero, and the reference point itself is usually chosen to be at infinity. It can be shown that the potential associated with a charged body at a given point in a static electric field is independent of the path along which the body has traveled in passing from infinity to the given point. Potential is measured in volts and is sometimes called voltage.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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